Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday morning 10/29

I am so glad yesterday was church day!  King David said it best in one of the psalms when he wrote, "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord!"  After all the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it's good for us as God's people to deliberately set aside time each week as "just worship God" time.  I know me---I need that specific time and place when I have to push away all other duties and worries and concentrate solely on my Heavenly Father, or else it wouldn't happen.  I'd get so caught up in daily stresses and assignments and deadlines that I'd totally forget about talking to God........and I mean more than just at mealtimes.  I'd probably go weeks without pausing to actually worship the Creator of the universe---and the Creator of me.  I'm so thankful to belong to a church that holds services three times a week but whose doors are always open.  We joke about changing our home address to the church's because we are always there!  But what a wonderful, blessed way to live, wrapped up in the house of God and the people of God and the being of God.

How time flies nowadays!  Remember when we were young and the summers seemed to last forever?  Remember when Christmas seemed years away?  Here we are, just a few days away from November already, and it seems like the year just started a month ago!  I feel kind of like the person who went to bed so late each night he began meeting himself getting up in the morning........if the years speed up any more, I'll start meeting myself halfway through!

We had quite a busy week last week.  Wednesday was the final day of the first quarter, so we teachers were busy giving tests and averaging grades.  There was no school Thursday so as to give teachers some training time plus grade-input time.  The kids welcomed this day to sleep in some, except for Dale and Amanda. Dale had a dentist appointment for 9:00 a.m., and I had to be at school by 10:00 a.m.; so I asked Mandie to stay with Dale at the dentist's office in my stead.  I planned to go back and pick them up whenever he was through, thinking this would be about an hour to an hour and a half later.  Forty minutes later, Amanda called me to say all was done!  I had not even gotten to school yet---I had stopped in K-Mart for a few quick things and was in the checkout line when I got the phone call.  I wound up missing the first half hour of our training meeting, running Dale home again.  Amanda stayed with me at school to help get stuff done.  She gets to be my Teacher's Assistant this year, which usually means she's my "gopher."  It is, indeed, a blessing to be able to say, "Here---I need ten copies" and then continue on with teaching.  Plus, the students love her and enjoy having her in our class.  Where else would I get to spend half the day with my now eighteen year old daughter?  :-)

On Friday, our whole school went to the Pumpkin Patch!  The younger classes have always planned a field trip to the Pumpkin Patch, but about five years ago our principal suggested we all go and have some fun.  So, each year we take one day and load everyone on buses and head for a local farm that sets up a Pumpkin Patch fun area.  This year we went to Maris Farms; they have a corn maze (in which I get lost each year), a hayride that takes us down past the corn and around a huge field where they grow the pumpkins, a small area where each child gets to choose a small to medium size pumpkin, some really cool play equipment (which was shut down due to inclement weather), a barn with a petting zoo, a goat enclosure where you can feed the goats (if they're not hiding inside from the pounding rain), and a corn room where the dairy farm down the road stores 12 tons of dry corn kernels---this is the cows' winter feed, but Maris Farms keeps it standing about one foot deep in a big room where the kids take off their coats and shoes and dive in!  The corn room is a favorite with everyone, including the high schoolers, and nearly everyone comes home with dried corn kernels hiding in various pockets and pant cuffs.

This year, it absolutely poured!  We had just arrived when it began to sprinkle.  Our class went to the hayride first; by the time we got off, the sprinkle had changed to a steady but light rain.  When we finished the (short version) corn maze, the rain was coming down more heavily.  We walked up the hill to the play equipment and let the kids slide down the giant tubes a few times before gathering them together to head for the big covered enclosure where the picnic tables were located.  By then, the rain was so heavy and cold that the kids were glad to get out of it for a while!  We ate our lunch with the promise that the students could go to the corn room right afterwards (just around the corner).  It took every ounce of honesty I had to leave the relative safety of the enclosure and head for the corn room.  There, at least, we had a roof over us again, but the weather was turning colder and all I wanted was to go home!  Which, of course, was not up to me as we had ridden a school bus there and had to wait until everyone was ready to leave before we could go.  As it was, everyone was just as wet and cold and ready to leave; just as we were leaving the corn room, our driver called out to let us know we were loading the bus.  The ride home seemed a lot shorter than the ride there, maybe because we were headed home.  We got back to school with two hours left before the final bell would ring; this simply gave everyone a chance to play and have fun time.  I had promised our class some hot chocolate when we got back, so we enjoyed that.  One of the other teachers gave us a couple bags of microwave popcorn, so that was an added treat.  We had some fun activities like Hidden Pictures and such to do as well; we had already glued together a craft before we left so it could dry while we were gone.  All in all, it was a good day!

Dale got to come with me at the Pumpkin Patch.  He didn't get to go last year; he was still pretty unsteady at that point, and we had therapy that day, so we opted not to go.  This year was challenging still for him.  The ground was already muddy, and the rainfall made concentrating on walking near impossible.  Dale's legs were like jello, giving way at the slightest provocation!  I am so thankful for one of my student's mothers, Mrs. Rzyhichenko, who came along as a chaperone.  With me on one side of Dale and her on the other, we managed to keep Dale upright all the way around the Pumpkin Patch.  He got to go on the hayride and walk through the small field, picking his own pumpkin, but the corn maze was out of the question.  We were slipping and sliding badly enough; there is no way Dale could have managed it.  He did okay getting up the hill from the pumpkin field, although he was very glad to be able to sit down at the top.  We walked around the farm area to the enclosure to eat lunch, and then Dale stayed there while I took the students to the corn room.  I'm sure Dale would have had fun in the corn room, but I'm not sure he could have gotten in and out of the boxed-in area!  When they called to us to get ready to go, Dale was happy to slip and slide his way to the bus to go back to school.  He got some hot chocolate along with my class and spent the last of the school day walking around my classroom, drawing on the board, and playing games with my students.  He was sooooo tired by the end of the day that I'm surprised he didn't fall asleep on the way home, like Emily.  She fell asleep in the car on the way home from school and didn't wake up until nearly 9:00 p.m.!

As you can tell, life is full and happy here in the Ostrander world.  Our God has blessed us far beyond what we could ever have imagined, and we thank Him every day for that.  What a wonderful Saviour we serve!

I Thessalonians 5:18  "In every thing give thanks:  for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Saturday morning 10/20

We recently had a guest speaker at our church who challenged us in Sunday school to talk to God about everything.......and I mean, everything.  He reminded us we are supposed to keep in continual conversation with our Heavenly Father Who already knows all, not to inform Him of anything He may have overlooked but rather to help us ask for His help at all times and with all things.  This is really hard to do!  I get so used to living my own life according to my own schedule and needs that I forget to include God; actually, I should be centering my life around His Will and His desires.  But once in a while, I get it right.  :-)

Do you ever feel a nudge from the Holy Spirit?  Do you ever have a random thought pop into your head that you realize, in hindsight, came from our constant Guide?  This week, on Thursday, that happened to me.  I had begun class and gone through the morning routine to the point that pledges were over and we were halfway through the Bible lesson.  Suddenly, I realized I had totally forgotten to take prayer requests and lead in prayer!  Some great teacher I am, huh?  As soon as the Bible lesson was over, I sought to rectify that error.  I was already in the middle of the prayer when a thought jumped to the front of my brain:  What if our class were to change, either by adding or subtracting a student?  I'm sure I've had this thought before and simply let it drift away, but this time was different.  I included that idea in our prayer by saying, "Lord, we enjoy being together in this class, but it is possible that someone might move away or someone else might move here and want to come to our school.  Please help us make them feel welcome and a glad part of our class."  I ended the prayer and moved on to the next subject, thinking no more about it.  Not fifteen minutes later, our principal walked in and announced that we would be getting a new student the very next day!  One of our second-grade girls' cousins were going to be attending, starting on Friday.  Boy, did our mouths drop open!!!  The boys who were in the classroom with me at the time were astounded as well, exclaiming about how we had just prayed that very thing and now it was to happen.  Was I ever glad I had listened to the Spirit's quiet words and voiced the thought He gave me, so that my class was now prepared for a new student.  She's fitting in just fine, although Friday was a little chaotic for her, having to get everything unpacked and stowed away and trying to learn our routines and schedule.  We are excited to have another student in our class, and the girls are especially thrilled to have another join their ranks!

Dale is doing simply great.  He is walking around more and more by himself, even at school and up/down the ramp to the portable as needed.  He is gaining confidence in his ability to steady himself when he gets shaky and is losing the fear of falling.  Not that he falls any less often!  Thursday, approximately one hour before we were to leave for Dale's checkup at the doctor's office, Dale jerked and fell out of his chair in math class.  He knocked his head pretty hard and has acquired a new red rash on his face where his cheek broke his fall, but he'll be okay.  His teacher came and got me right away and that hasn't been necessary for a while, so I knew he had fallen pretty hard.  When I entered the room, Dale's classmates were sitting so quietly, almost as if they were hurting along with Dale.  His friend, Josiah, had moved to a seat near Dale just until the teacher came back, which seemed to me to be a nice gesture; the young lady who had been occupying that seat gladly relinquished it until Dale was able to be helped up and into his seat again.  I joked with Dale about needing a seat belt just to stay in his chair, and the rest of the class grinned along with me.  It must be hard on them to see their formerly energetic and crazy classmate have such difficulty with everyday life.  All of the students in the junior high and high school have been so willing to help whenever Dale needs it; what a blessing that has been.  It relieves me to know Dale has help when he needs it, and it takes the pressure off his older sisters so that they do not always need to be the ones to assist Dale.

The doctor visit went well; Dr. Heistand was pleased to see Dale (last visit was one year ago---imagine the change in Dale since then!) and encouraged by how well Dale is doing.  He asked about Dale's education plan and was satisfied to hear that our wonderful teachers and principal are doing all they can to help Dale be at school and thrive in school.  He said he'd wait to read the neurologist's report on Dale's mental progress when we go see him in a few weeks before recommending any lab work.  This was good to hear, since we had already been there getting our shots (Amanda---2, Dale---2, me---1).  We were more than ready to just go home and nurse our wounds!

Amanda seriously fought Chad and I over having to get the flu shot; she insists that the only time she ever got the flu was right after getting a flu shot.  We won, but she didn't have to get the shot; they used the FluMist on her instead.  So far, she has shown no symptoms, and for this we praise the Lord with utmost gratitude!  :-\  Her birthday is today, and I really didn't want her to be ill on her 18th birthday.  So far, so good!

Back to Dale---it really seems like Dale does better when he works at his own pace without the pressures of classroom life.  He gets more one-on-one time when he has a question, and he absorbs the information much better.  We're unwilling to pull him out of his classes just yet for two reasons:  1) We just tweaked his ed. plan to allow for less homework and more studying.  We need to see how that works before making any changes.  2) Dale is thriving socially in his classes.  This is not to say that he is mature socially (is any thirteen-year-old boy?), but his attitude has brightened and his go-get-'em outlook has returned since being in regular classes with his classmates and friends.  Please continue to pray for Dale to improve academically and socially as well as physically and mentally.  Our God is not done with Dale yet, and we've seen how our prayers affect the heart of God.  Please pray with us for God's complete healing of Dale.

These next few weeks are going to be hectic.  Next week is a short week because of the end of the quarter on Wednesday which results in a Teacher InService Day (no school) on Thursday, followed by the school wide Pumpkin Patch trip on Friday.  The following week gives us only three and one-half days of school; we get out early on Thursday to help set up for Christian Ladies' Seminar (CLS) which will be held on Friday (no school) and Saturday.  Then, we have an evangelist coming the next week or so; plus, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving break.  I think I'll just scream now and get it over with.

I hope you have a good day today and a great week coming up.  Remember:  your God loves you because of Whose you are, not because of who you are.  Take care!  Love, Kirsten

I John 3:1  "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:  therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not."

Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday morning 10/15

Boy, oh boy, have we had a rough weekend!  Katie's been suffering from one of her migraines since Thursday.  She stayed home from school that day, but I made her go on Friday.  I was trying to be a good mom and help her realize that the world does not stop for a headache, but I think the only thing she felt was the Mom was not very sympathetic to her plight.  Since she toughed it out on Friday, I let her have some time off from her other responsibilities (bus visitation on Saturday, etc.) to try to recuperate.  It didn't work, as the migraine stayed with her all weekend.

This is the first weekend since school started that my Emily Rose did not come home with a streaming cold.  Praise the Lord!  Her habit has been to fight a cold all week, get worse (coughing, sneezing, runny nose, red eyes) on Friday, be sick all Saturday, and begin to make a comeback on Sunday---only to start over with a new batch of germs on Monday!  This Friday, however, she came home just fine and has not been sick all weekend.  In fact, her skin is clearing up (she has really bad eczema) thanks to a new cream the doctor recommended called CeraVe, and her asthma (inherited and from the cold germs) has been calming down since we got a new inhaler.  So, Emily is enjoying good health.........for now!

Ashley, Amanda, and Dale have been well and enjoying lazing around the house.  No chance of going outside, though, since it finally decided to RAIN!!!  Here in Western Washington, we are known as a rainforest, and it does, indeed, rain for a goodly part of the year.  Usually the rain starts by the second week of September and continues until, oh, about June.  (No joke!)  This year, since summer began, we hadn't had any measurable rain until last week.  At first there was a fine mist which thickened into fog; then, at last, the actual rain drops began falling.  We were in the midst of a real drought for these parts!  Now, the rain has pounded steadily for days, washing everything clean and giving the vegetation new life.  Plus, with fall having arrived, the mornings are quite chilly; this helps kill off nasty germs that tend to make folks ill.  You'd think we would all be well now, huh?

Not so!  I developed a migraine of my own Saturday night, causes unknown.  I figured I'd just sleep it off, so I didn't take any medication.  Stupid idea!  By now I should know that sleeping it off never works for me.  I woke up Sunday morning in real agony, desperately wishing to chop off my head and get a new one that didn't hurt so much.  I don't experience any aura or warning signs that a migraine is coming, so each time I'm surprised.  I began taking migraine medicine (over-the-counter), but it didn't work.  I was down with that thing all Sunday and couldn't even go to church!  To make matters worse, my equilibrium was upset, so my balance was way off.  I was dizzy and likely to fall over just by turning around.  Since I was home sick and Chad was not available, even the kids couldn't go to church.  Amanda got to go on buses in the morning (I was able to drop her off and pick her up with no incidents!), but we all stayed home last night.  My headache finally began to ease about 7:00 but didn't fully go away until this morning.  Katie is still fighting hers but is staging a valiant effort.

Dale has been fine!  He has enjoyed his extra time off this weekend, getting to sleep in and watch TV.  I spoke with his teachers this week after meeting with our principal, and the decision was made to reduce the amount of Dale's homework to just enough work to allow him to demonstrate his grasp of the concept taught.  He has had soooo much homework each night that he's been spending about four hours each night working on it.  This leaves him no down time, no relax time, no study time.  We decided that, with the reduced homework, Dale will have more time to actually study for tests and quizzes, thus improving his grades.  So, Dale spent some time Friday night on homework, but he took Saturday morning off.  He played on the computer and got in the tub, then went downstairs to eat and watch TV.  He spent some time Saturday afternoon correcting a math test and doing some extra credit work in science before plopping down in front of the fold laundry!  This has been a sore spot for his sisters, that Dale doesn't have to fold as much laundry as they do.  For a while he couldn't and then, he was so busy with school work, he still couldn't.  Now, however, Dale is fully able to keep up with his share of the loads.  (This, of course, does not please him greatly.)

Chad's been off work for a few days, getting in some hunting.  Or, at least, some looking!  He only gets this one vacation in the year, so he enjoys the break fully.  Since he's been away, we mice have been playing---hide-and-go-seek in the dark, that is!  We've had a game each night and have had a blast scaring each other witless!  Each night, I'll take Dale's hand and help him through the darkened house and into a good hiding spot.  I'll also help steady him when it's his turn to find the others.  Last night, Dale said, "Mom, I want to walk on my own in the game."  And he did!  He's been walking around the house really, really well lately, and he did that again during the game last night, walking on his own and leaning down to check dark corners.  Praise the Lord for this improvement!  It's good to see Dale feeling more confident and comfortable in his own skin.  He's been trying this at school, too, walking around my classroom without any help.  Eventually, he'll be walking around the gym on his own---I just know it!  :-)

God is always good to us, and He is our reason for living.  He truly "doeth all things well."

Hebrews 7: 25  "Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them."

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Saturday evening 10/6

It's Saturday night again, and you know what that means.  We've all survived another week!  Yes!!!  Be honest........Monday morning when your alarm went off and you realized the weekend was over, you had to go back to work, and the "me time" you had planned never happened---did you think you'd make it?

There are times when I wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go, recharged and facing the new day with energy and ambition.  And then there are the other 364 days of the year!  I love my family; I love my teaching job; I love my church and each service we get to attend; but sometimes I feel so overwhelmed with my duties, my responsibilities, my obligations, and my workload that I just want to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my head.  And, frankly, I don't have as much to do as a lot of people.  My husband works his tail off, driving a gravel truck for miles upon miles each day, having his bones constantly jarred from the rough roads and inevitable vibrations emanating from his truck that would probably register at least a 5.5 on the Richter scale.  This is overtime season for his line of work, so he's working long hours, six days a week.  When he finally gets home, he's met with a houseful of less-than-docile children who each have their own demands and a wife holding a two-mile-long list of items to be looked at around the house.  ( wonder he goes to be early!  LOL)  I know there are many people whose jobs are more demanding than mine and who work longer hours than I do.  I'm just saying:  if I get tired and worn thin (I wish!) from what I have to do each day, you folks must be exhausted!!!  God bless each of you in your daily lives, going to work to keep this great country running and bringing up your families to be good, honest, hard-working, God-fearing citizens.  My hat's off to you!  (I just have to decide which of the many hats I wear I will doff in your honor!)

We had a good week, filled with schoolwork and homework and shopping trips to restock our ever-emptying larder and church functions and all.  Really, on the whole, our lives resemble nothing so much as a human hamster wheel---constantly running round and round, doing the same thing over and over again!  The occasional stubbed toe or low/high grade on a test livens things up,  but we really are boring people.

Our oldest three went to a youth activity Friday night.  The whole teen group played games, had dinner around a campfire, and listened to testimonies and such by the leaders.  Bro. Jon, our youth pastor, wanted the kids to have some fun but some revival, too.  He showed them a video of what life would be like in thirty years if Christians didn't stand up for what we believe and allowed ourselves to be suppressed (no Bibles allowed anywhere, the words "under God" taken out of the Pledge of Allegiance, pastors and church members thrown in jail for witnessing, etc).  The video then wound backwards and showed how each of the "future" events could be prevented by simply speaking out for Christ and living for God.  I'm hoping this is a wake-up call for those teens who still think only adults need to live for Christ.  I know Katie made a decision to be sure to read her Bible each day again; she had been doing this, but we all know how easy it is to miss a couple of days and then just stop.  I'm glad she decided to make that promise to God again.

***Good News Alert***After the activity, Dale got bored sitting on the bleachers waiting for his sisters to finish taking down the volleyball net.  When Ashley went in to tell them we were ready to pick them up, Dale stood up and began walking toward the door.  He actually walked all the way from the bleachers to the door, outside onto the front sidewalk, across the parking lot, and around the back of the van to the side where he sits.  He even opened the van door himself (this has been causing him fits lately) and climbed in---all without falling or faltering once!  Someone was teasing him as he walked out (Bro. Jon or one of the guys); Dale just kept walking, waving his hand at them and saying, "I heard you the first time; I'm just ignoring you!"  When they laughed and bid him good night, Dale responded, "Good night!"  Usually, Dale cannot walk and talk at the same time......literally.  Friday night, he did great, walking and talking and gesturing and opening the door. Praise the Lord for this wonderful display!

Please continue to pray for Dale' full healing.  Personally, the thought is never far from my mind, but I don't necessarily put the prayer into words each day.  There is still so much room for improvement, and I don't want God to be done yet!  Also, pray for my husband as he works to provide for us.  Despite assurances coming from Washington, D.C., the recession is far from over, and we are continuing to feel the effects.  We are seeking God's will in the matter, asking Him to show us exactly what His plan is.  I know we can trust Him to provide all things for us, but faith is generally easier to say than to practice.

Take some time to tell God you love Him, and have a great week!  :-)

Proverbs 15: 32-33  "He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul:  but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.  The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility."

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tuesday evening 10/2

So many blessings to tell about---I don't know where to start!

Back at the beginning of the summer, we all visited the dentist's office.  After Dale's checkup and cleaning, the dentist informed me that Dale had a small cavity between two of his back molars, but that we could wait until the one molar fell out before fixing the cavity.  The dentist also said that the adult tooth waiting to grow in had turned sideways and would probably need oral surgery to right it.  Sure enough, about a month ago, Dale lost that loose molar, and we could see immediately that the dentist was correct---the adult tooth was already visible and turned completely on its side so that the points of the crown were pointing toward his cheek instead of straight up.  Since Chad and I do not happen to have several hundred dollars (or maybe thousands!) lying around for dental surgery, I began praying that God would correct the position of Dale's tooth so that there would be no need to worry about possible dental problems later in life.  To be honest, I prayed, giving God the burden and meaning my words sincerely........and then promptly forgot about it!  Not because I'm some great prayer warrior whose faith in God is so strong, but because there were so many other things to think about with school starting and all.

Fast forward about four weeks:  Dale told me last week at the table that he had lost a tooth at school that day.  When I checked his teeth, the gaping hole was obviously visible.  The tooth had come cleanly out, and there was a nice gap for the adult tooth to come through.  I was somewhat confused, feeling a sense of deja vu, because Dale had a row of perfectly formed teeth down his left jaw and a gap in the row of teeth down his right jaw.  I thought, "Didn't he just lose a tooth recently?  If so, where is the hole?  Surely the new tooth didn't grow in so quickly---AND WASN'T THAT TOOTH COMING IN SIDEWAYS?!!!"  Dale laughed and confirmed that the tooth he just lost was exactly opposite of the one he had lost a month earlier.  I looked again, thinking my eyes were deceiving me.  Can you believe that the adult tooth, now fully grown in, had turned right side up and come in perfectly straight?!  Ain't God good?  I was concerned about a problem; I prayed for God to take care of it; and then I was surprised when He did!  (Now there's real faith for you!  :-/)  I was so excited!!!  I told each of the kids and showed them Dale's mouth (he was willing to show off his missing tooth; I wanted them to see the tooth grown in properly!); I ran and told Chad so he could (1) rejoice in the answered prayer and (2) know that he would not have to stress over possible dental surgery.  Chad told people at church; his spirits were uplifted by God's hand visibly at work in our family.  And now I get to share this blessing with you!  Praise be to God.

A second blessing:  I am FINALLY getting my classroom put to rights since our move a few weeks ago.  Mrs. O'Connor had put such work into getting everything arranged just so and fitting everything for two classes into one room, only to have third grade uproot and move all the way down the gym.  I spent the first week in our new classroom trying to find things, including the top of my desk.  I spent the second week attempting to establish some kind of schedule and routine for us to follow so the students (and I) wouldn't go crazy.  Now, I am actually organizing my files---I have files!; I have the walls decorated, including the class calendar and bulletin board; the back of the door has student job assignments (this makes them happy, feeling important); and I found my desk!  Turns out, it's brown, just like the rest of it.  LOL  Thank God I haven't lost my sanity yet..........I think!

Chad has been holding church services at a local nursing home for a couple of months now.  There are between two and five people who come each week.  Usually one or another of our family gets to go with him.  Two weeks ago, I had to stay home with Emily, so I missed my opportunity to go, and Chad wound up going by himself.  This turned out to be good because there were ten people who came!  What a turnout!  Chad's father, who comes when he can, had to stand and give up his seat to someone else.  Chad told us when he got home that it was a good thing no one else of our family had gone because there wouldn't have been any more seats anyway!  I'm so glad the old folks there get to hear good Bible preaching once a week now.  They are such dear people, sharing stories of their lives and singing along with the hymns.  It is our privilege to serve God and them each week.

God is so good each and every day.  He showers blessings on us, whether we acknowledge them or not, whether we are grateful for His blessings or not.  Please don't misunderstand---I try in this blog to point out the goodness of God and His wonderful works.  That's not to say that nothing bad ever happens to us.  I mean, if that were true, there would be no need for a blog in the first place, right?  And who wants to read a blog where the blogger just whines and complains all the time?  We are a normal family with abnormal kids---just kidding!  We have our problems and struggle with sin and wrestle with doubt like everyone else.  But something that Chad and I have always tried to do and especially tried to teach our children is to look for God's blessings and His guiding hand.  Sometimes He's easy to see; the way is smooth, the grass green, and the air sweet.  Sometimes it seems we wander through fog, wondering where in the world God is hiding.......and why.  But the song holds true:  "Bow the knee/Trust the heart of your Father when the answer lies beyond what you can see/Bow the knee/Turn your eyes toward Heaven and believe the One Who holds eternity."  If I can't see God's hand, I can still trust His heart.  I know God knows what is best for me and my family.  If the way ahead seems dark and unknown, I can trust that God chose this way for me because it is best.  I honestly don't know how I'll handle the days and years ahead if Dale never gets to the point where he can live independently, if there is never a time when he can walk on his own, if he always needs help getting in/out of the tub, if he needs special help just to finish high school. I don't know how to handle years ahead; I can barely handle hours ahead sometimes.  But I can choose to trust God.  I can give God my fears and my faith, my tears and my trust, my anger and my acceptance, my lament and my love.  He is able to handle all this for me, if only I let Him.  And who better to take care of my life and my cares than the very God Who cradles me in the palm of His hand?  I rest, secure.

Romans 8: 28  "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose."  Really.